No Drums, No Reason...now what?

What do you use for drums

I have a MIDI keyboard but am not very good with it. I have a Boss-550 Drum machine but it doesnt really do very well.

If you don’t have the real deal and you can’t afford Reason, what is a good way (inexpensive) to get some decent sounding drums onto your projects?

cliff
:cool:

If you can’t buy a drum kit…

Fruity loops… Commercial drum loops… n-track drums… to name a few.


There are various dedicated drum VSTIs that you can throw midi at (programmed from the drum roll perhaps), or even soundfont players that you can load a drum kit into.

I’ve even sync’d my Boss drum machine to n-track (via midi) and had that play my drum tracks.

Is your problem the programming of the song or the drum sounds themselves?


X
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oh, and Jamstix (not cheap but not expensive) although I don’t really like the way it plays.

Or EZ Drummer (again not cheap but not expensive)

or sign-up at one of the collab sites like http://www.artistcollaboration.com/ and get a real drum track played by a real drummer.

A lot will depend on how you want to program your drums…

I use Jamstix and love it.
Makes producing a drum part sooooo much easier for me now.

Some people don’t like the workflow of Jamstix though.
It is quite different to any other drum program and if you want total control over every drum hit there are probably better programs.
For me I hated having to tweak individual hits to get drums to try and sound realistic.
Now I just let Jamstix add variances etc. and if I don’t like what it plays I just lock the good bars get it to play the offending sections again until I’m happy.
Kinda like playing with a real drummer :)

All the drums on the songs on www.mp3.com.au/poppi were done with Jamstix.
“Pray”, “The Moment (v2)” and “You Got Me Running” are probably the best to listen to for Jamstix.

I tried loops but never really got the hang of using them properly (my drum tracks still sounded quite repetitive and uninspired) but some people get really good results with loops.

Depends what style of music you do too… I wouldn’t use Jamstix for dance/techno type stuff…


Rich

midi and Sound Fonts work for me ok…at least for demo purposes…

I am right in there with Clark on this…

I use the Paax VSTi software sampler (freeware, but mine came with the last issue of Computer Music), which reads SoundFonts, but sfz works for this purpose, too.

Usually I load it with NS_kit7 from Natural Studio - I have heard better (software-originated) drums, but you could probably buy a decent drumkit, an isolated drum booth, and a drummer, for that… - For demo work, I just stick with the sounds in my SR-16 beat box or my QS6.1 - they’re basically the same.

For programming midi drums, I have yet to find an ideal way to do it. Usually, I go about it like this (in n-Track or another midi editor capable of using a VSTi):

Program the core drum beat. No fills, just the rough song. Keep it quantized for now, but pay attention to dynamics. (The NS_kit is very dynamic and has a lot of velocity layers to play with.)

Add the fills, intros, breaks, whatever is needed to propel the song along.

Separate each drum onto its own midi track. Click on the key to the left in the piano roll to select all beats of that drum, and copy it to its own track. Keep everything to the same midi channel.

Now for the ‘magic’:

Select all the bass drum beats and randomize them using the quantize function - don’t randomize them more than a few %.

Select all the snare drum beats, randomize them, and move them a bit in time (1-3%) using the swing feature - see below.

Select all the tom hits, randomize them and move them a bit (3-5%) more.

Select the hi-hat (both open, footed and closed) in the same way, randomize and move it (4-6%) even more.

Lastly, select the cymbals, randomize and move them further still (6-8%).

Depending on the feel of the song, the swing feature is a powerful tool to ‘humanize’ an otherwise cold, robotic beat. The ‘stacking’ of the drums is forward (early) in time when going for a jazzy feel, and backward (late) in time when going for a more rock-like feel.

To emphasize the timing structure you end up with by stacking:

Jazz: cymbals - hi-hat - toms - snare - bass drum. —> time

Rock: bass drum - snare - toms - hi-hat - cymbals —> time

Remember, a little bit goes a long way, and patience and trial and error is the key to getting there, unless you are fortunate enough to have access to a sequencer with groove quantization.

Don’t overlook the possibility to adjust the tempo (BPM) of the song along the way - it adds life to the song, too.

I usually track each drum separately and dry on its own audio track, leaving me with a lot of options to put effects on them in the mix.

regards, Nils

#EDIT#

I simply hate drum loops.

Thanx all,

I have been reading about Jamstix, EZ Drummer, FL etc. I haven’t heard of Paax so I will check it out. I do have NsKit but haven’t had much luck using it. I think I know what is causing my difficulty…as Nils points out,
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patience and trial and error is the key

Each drum/cymbol by itself? On its own track? My son uses Reason and also programs his drums like this…He will be visiting at Christmas so maybe I can get some hands on direction…
I have been avoiding doing it this way but I suppose the time has come. It sounds very time consuming but to avoid the alternative (robotic sounds), I guess it will be worth it…

??? My friend of 40+ years is a great drummer…and he is computer literate ???

Thanks for all the response…

@Nils----I will print that out and give it a try…
@Rich—I read your relative posts on KVR but I still haven’t been able to give those tunes a listen…I will so I can see an example of Jamstix at work.

cliff
:cool:

Yamaha DD-55

More than a toy - a useful tool, has midi and some decent built in kits, and playable as a proper kit (with practice).
I record its midi out, usually in three passes - kick, hihat, then the rest of the kit. Then I usually route the recorded midi to the A0-DKL VSTi, load it with ‘Toms Samples’, and build a kit suitable for the track that way.

Quote (pasher @ Nov. 22 2006,15:59)
Yamaha DD-55

More than a toy - a useful tool, has midi and some decent built in kits, and playable as a proper kit (with practice).
I record its midi out, usually in three passes - kick, hihat, then the rest of the kit. Then I usually route the recorded midi to the A0-DKL VSTi, load it with 'Toms Samples', and build a kit suitable for the track that way.

Yessir. DD-55 is a GREAT drum track building tool. I picked mine up on the cheap used at a discount music store for 125 bux. One of the few gems I've picked up for a steal in this game.

D